Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Act on Its Own

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Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa can now do tasks on its own after a recent software update. Prior to the update, the virtual assistant already had the ability to suggest tasks that it can accomplish through a feature called “Hunches.” Alexa bases its suggested actions on the user’s habits and frequent requests. For instance, if Alexa senses that it is almost bedtime, it will confirm if it should switch off the lights. The old version of Hunches required Alexa to ask permission each time before doing any tasks. But with the latest upgrade, the virtual assistant can now automatically act without asking permission. Using an improved version called “Proactive Hunches,” Alexa can now proactively control smart appliances and complete tasks even when its owners are busy, asleep, or away from home. The new feature can be activated using the Alexa app. Through their smartphones, users can choose from a long list of actions to allow Alexa to do on its own, including switching the lights on and off, controlling the water heater, adjusting the room temperature, and starting the robot vacuum. Amazon also rolled out an energy dashboard in the Alexa app, which shows how much power the appliances and devices connected to Alexa are consuming. In addition to Proactive Hunches and the energy dashboard, the company also introduced a new home security feature called Guard Plus, which costs $4.99 a month. When installed on Alexa, the smart assistant can alert users if it detects any suspicious sounds that could mean that someone broke into their house. If necessary, Alexa can even connect to a security agent who can contact emergency hotlines for the users.

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